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  • URGENT: Act Now to Save the Open Internet

    Four million comments to the FCC, a record number, have made an impact. The Wall Street Journal reported that the FCC has abandoned the undemocratic, corporate-championed proposal on net neutrality the agency announced in May. And President Obama has finally come out in support of rules that would truly protect Internet freedom.

    Even with the president on our side, the ultimate decision rests with the FCC. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler—a former cable industry lobbyist—is reportedly still considering a “hybrid” plan that could leave us with exactly what we don’t want: fast lanes for the 1% and slow lanes for everybody else.

    Advocates for net neutrality and President Obama agree: the only way to truly protect Internet freedom is by reclassifying broadband under the Communications Act. Only then will the FCC have the tools to prevent giant cable companies from dominating the freewheeling, dynamic Internet we’ve come to rely on. And only reclassification can ensure that organizations without corporate bankrolls—organizations like The Nation and RootsAction—can continue to survive and thrive online.

    Write to the FCC now and demand that the agency protect real net neutrality. To amplify your call, use Fight for the Future’s tool to call the FCC directly.

    The FCC
    The headquarters of the Federal Communications Commission. (Flickr/Federal Communications Commission)

  • Stand Up For Internet Freedom

    No one likes a slow Internet connection. But if big cable companies have their way, you could see the “spinning wheel of death” whenever you try to check out start-ups, non-profits or independent media outlets like The Nation—basically any site which doesn’t have the extra funds to pay for “fast-lane” service. Instead of the freewheeling, dynamic place we know it to be, the Internet would become more like cable television, with giant corporations essentially choosing what you can and can’t see.

    We can’t let this happen. Earlier this week, a coalition including organizations such as Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Free Press Action Fund, Engine Advocacy, Reddit, Netflix and The Nation participated in the “Internet Slowdown.” All over the web, sites gave readers a taste of what it could feel like if we lose net neutrality and end up with a two-tiered Internet.

    The Federal Communications Commission will be accepting public comments on net neutrality until September 15th. Send the message below or craft your own and demand that the FCC stand up for real net neutrality. The FCC is particularly interested in personal messages so be sure to add your thoughts on what net neutrality means to you as a business owner, student, activist or any other Internet user.

    Note: By participating in this action, you will be filing a document into an official FCC proceeding. All information submitted, including names and addresses (you are not required to give your street address), will be publicly available via the web.

    Battle for the NEt

  • Demand that Cops Stop Acting Like Soldiers

    When residents of Ferguson, MO took to the streets to protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson, they were met with assault weapons, armored vehicles, tear gas and police decked out in full riot-gear. A community already dealing with the loss of one of their own found that their town had been occupied by what appeared to be a paramilitary force.

    If the police looked ready to fight a war, it's because that's what their equipment was designed for. Much of it came curtesy of the Department of Defense's 1033 program, which sends "surplus military equipment" to police departments. Since 1033 was introduced in the late 1990s, the federal government has sent $4.3 billion worth of military hardware to local and state police forces. The program has a particularly brutal effect on communities of color, as it is used primarily to execute the disastrous and racist "war on drugs." While the images in Ferguson have just recently become familiar to many, police have long used SWAT teams outfitted in military gear to serve warrants for arrests for minor drug crimes, terrorizing whole families and sometimes injuring or even killing people in the process.

    This needs to stop. This fall, Representative Hank Johnson is planning on introducing the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, which would end the federal government's policy of sending billions of dollars of military equipment into our local communities.

    Police should not treat the people they are sworn to protect like dangerous enemies. Write to your representatives and demand that they fight to end the militarization of the police.

    The police approach an unarmed protester in Ferguson, MO
    Police wearing riot gear walk toward a man with his hands raised Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, MO. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

  • Want Colleges to Protect Students From Sexual Assault? Take Action to Give Title IX Teeth

    One in five women, and a number of men and genderqueer students, will suffer sexual violence during their time in college. While Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments requires colleges to support sexual assault survivors and act to prevent violence before it occurs, too many schools shirk their legal obligations, sweeping violence under the rug with an aim to protect their public image over students’ safety. Institutions know that they will rarely be held accountable for violating the law; in its entire history, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the agency tasked with enforcing Title IX, has never sanctioned a school for sexual assault-related violations.

    This needs to change. The OCR’s current threatened sanction, the full removal of federal funding from noncompliant schools, would hurt students right alongside their universities. It's what Senator Claire McCaskill has called “an idle threat" that is "like having no penalty.” And it’s why we’re calling on Congress to provide the OCR with another enforcement tool: the authority to levy fines against schools in violation of Title IX.

    While the fines alone might not convince a school to change—and while they should not be so onerous that they harm current students—the resulting headlines, read by prospective students and alumni donors across the country, will be unambiguous; in the prestige game of American academia, a rape fine would deal a deep blow.

    Senators Claire McCaskill, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Richard Blumenthal are looking to introduce legislation this fall to combat campus sexual violence. They know, as we do, that the OCR needs more tools at its disposal. And they’ve already held a series of roundtables to discuss, among other reforms, the possibility of issuing legislation granting the OCR fining authority. This is a fight we can win. Join Know Your IX and The Nation in calling on legislators to make Title IX’s 42-year-old promise a reality.

    Know Your IX protest
    Photo by Jisoo Lee

  • Support Clean Energy Victory Bonds

    In the early 1940s, faced with the destruction wrought by the Great Depression and our likely participation in World War II, the United States government established the Victory Bonds program. Through the creation of affordable government-backed bonds, the program gave ordinary Americans the chance to invest in and help their country during crises that called for immediate action.

    Today, the fight against climate change demands that same urgency. That’s why we’re joining Green America in calling on Congress to pass a bill creating Clean Energy Victory Bonds (CEVB).

    Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, CEVBs will allow any American to invest as little as $25. Advocates for the bill expect the sale of the bonds to raise up to $50 billion, which will then leverage an additional $100 billion from private and public investors. The money raised would fund essential tax credits to renewable sources like wind, solar, and geothermal, as well as companies specializing in energy-efficiency. These investments have the potential to lessen the demand for fossil fuels, reduce the amount of CO2 poured into the atmosphere, and create one million good US jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.

    The fight for our planet’s future can’t wait. Join Green America and The Nation in calling on Congress to pass the Clean Energy Victory Bond Act of 2014.

    Twenty-nine members of Congress are already co-sponsors of the bill but we need your help to keep the momentum going. Put in zip code below and we'll find your representative. If they're already a supporting the bill, you can send them a "thank you" letter. If your representative is not on board, urge them to support this innovative plan to protect our planet.

    Solar panels
    Solar panels (Reuters/Steve Marcus)

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  • Tell President Obama: Do Not Use Military Force in Iraq

    As Iraq suffers again from a bloody sectarian conflict and potential civil war, many of the same pundits and politicians who supported the US invasion in 2003 are again advocating for military intervention. This is the wrong response. As Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote in her column for The Washington Post, "We learned in 2003 that when we move in with guns blazing, we tend to spark a lot more fires than we extinguish. In 2014, we cannot afford to learn this same lesson."

    There have been numerous reports that President Obama is considering military involvement in Iraq. Even if limited to airstrikes, military action would inflame sectarian divisions in the country and would almost certainly kill civilians. Join The Nation, RootsAction and Iraq Veterans Against the War in telling the president to not use military force in Iraq.

    An Iraqi funeral
    An Iraqi mourner waves an old flag of Iraq during the funerals of victims killed in clashes with security forces in Falluja, January 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani)

  • Join Elizabeth Warren in Fighting the Student Loan Debt Crisis

    Currently, more than 40 million Americans are saddled with student debt, amounting to a total of $1 trillion. Senator Warren has introduced a bill, the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow graduates to finally refinance their student loans, like any other loan. This bill would lower their interest rates and put money back into the economy.

    Elizabeth Warren
    Elizabeth Warren speaks at the launch of the Higher Ed Not Debt campaign in Washington, DC, March 6, 2014. (Generation Progress/Layla Zaidane)

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  • Join the ‘Not One More’ Campaign to End Gun Violence

    After his son was killed in the shootings in Santa Barbara in late May, Richard Martinez shared a powerful message:

    “Today, I'm going to ask every person I can find to send a postcard to every politician they can think of with three words on it: ‘Not one more.’ People are looking for something to do. I'm asking people to stand up for something. Enough is enough.”

    Over half a million people have already answered his call. Now, it's your turn. Join The Nation and Everytown for Gun Safety and tell your elected representatives that not one more person should die because of our broken gun laws. Everytown for Gun Safety will print and deliver a postcard with the message below to your senators, representative and governor.

    Richard Martinez
    Richard Martinez (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters).

  • Join the "Not One More" Campaign to End Gun Violence

    After his son was killed in the shootings in Santa Barbara last week, Richard Martinez shared a powerful message:

    "Today, I'm going to ask every person I can find to send a postcard to every politician they can think of with three words on it: Not One More. People are looking for something to do. I'm asking people to stand up for something. Enough is enough."

    Over half a million people have already answered his call. Join The Nation and Everytown for Gun Safety by using the form below to send a postcard to elected officials. Everytown for Gun Safety will send a postcard to your senators, representative and governor telling them that not one more person should die because of our broken gun laws.

  • Tell the FCC: We Must Protect Net Neutrality

    The Federal Communications Commission announced this week that it will propose new rules that would allow companies to pay Internet service providers (ISP) for special, faster lanes to deliver their content to customers. That means that large corporations like Disney or Netflix could pay to have their content delivered more smoothly, while small start-ups or anyone without the funds to pay would be stuck with slow or low-quality service.

    The rule change would be devastating for net neutrality, the principle that ISPs must treat all content on the Internet equally and that users should have equal access to see any legal content. In an environment where large corporations can pay for faster service, it would become exceedingly difficult for start-ups and every day internet users to compete.

    Earlier this year, a federal appeals court struck down rules the FCC implemented in 2010 to protect net neutrality on the grounds that the agency classifies broadband providers as information service providers and not telecommunications service providers, which can be regulated more strictly. As John Nichols points out, it is well within the FCC's power to reclassify internet access as a telecommunications service and to reassert its authority to protect net neutrality.

    Don't stand by while the internet is transformed into a pay-to-play service. Contact FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and tell him that we need a free and open internet.

    The Federal Communications Commission
    The headquarters of the Federal Communications Commission. (Flickr/Federal Communications Commission)

  • Tell President Obama: Deportations Are Tearing Families Apart. We Need You to Act

    Each day, an estimated 1,100 undocumented immigrants are deported, leaving spouses, siblings and even children behind. The policy has devastating effects on families; between 2010 and 2012, 200,000 parents of US-born children were deported. As a result, at least 5,000 children are in foster care. Although President Obama has claimed to focus deportation efforts on serious criminals, a New York Times study released this April found that two-thirds of the 3.2 million people deported over ten years had committed only minor infractions, such as a traffic violation.

    Now, activists are fighting back. Immigrants' rights advocates have staged a hunger strike outside the White House and have been calling attention to the individual stories of the families who have been separated.

    As The Nation's editors point out, executive action by the president could spur reform by galvanizing electoral support from immigrant communities and by driving a wedge between mainstream Republicans supportive of reform and anti-immigrant hardliners. While Congress drags its feet, President Obama could make a real difference in the lives of millions of immigrants and their families.  Sign our open letter with Daily Kos calling on the president to listen to immigrants' rights activists and use executive actions to end mass deportations.

    A protest for rights for undocumented immigrants  A child at an immigrants rights protest

  • The McCutcheon Decision Is Disastrous; Here's How You Can Fight Back

    In a case some have called "Citizens United 2.0," the Supreme Court struck down caps on the total amount a donor can contribute to political candidates, parties and political action committees. The case, McCutcheon v FEC, involved a coal tycoon who argued that the laws limiting individual donations to political candidates and parties to $123,200 total over two years violated his first amendment rights. Now, wealthy donors can give more than $3.5 million over that same period. Citizens United allowed Big Business to spend literally as much as it wants. But Citizens United money can go only to outside groups. Now McCutcheon removes meaningful limits on the total amount an individual can directly contribute to candidates, political parties and political committees.

    As The Nation's John Nichols points out, the ruling makes it crystal clear that rather than work to protect democracy, "the court has opted for full-on plutocracy."

    The good news is that people across the nation are responding with protests to this outrageous decision building on the widespread outrage generated by Citizens United. States and cities across the country have called for a “Democracy Is For People” amendment to end unlimited and undisclosed corporate financing of American elections and to enable the government to regulate spending by individuals. The amendment would effectively reverse much of the damage of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and help to mitigate the worst excesses of the McCutcheon decision.

    Sixteen states and hundreds of cities and towns across the country have already demanded that Congress act to end the ever-growing influx of big money into politics. Join The Nation and Daily Kos in asking members of Congress to pass the "Democracy Is For People" amendment.  

    The US Supreme Court
    The Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

  • Concerned About Climate Change? Take Action to Stop Cove Point

    You've heard of Keystone XL but have you heard of Cove Point? While it hasn't garnered the same amount of attention as the infamous pipeline, the proposed $3.8 billion liquid natural gas (LNG) export facility would do serious damage to the local environment and could put the United States on the path to massively increasing our greenhouse gas emissions.

    The proposed Cove Point export facility in southern Maryland just fifty miles from the White House would turn natural gas into a liquid to be sent overseas. Much of that natural gas would be obtained through fracking, giving companies a huge incentive to expand the dangerous practice. Furthermore, while natural gas has been sold as a clean alternative to coal, the facility at Cove Point would trigger more planet-heating pollution than all seven of Maryland's coal plants combined. Finally, while its proponents no doubt want to paint Cove Point as a potential boon for the economy, only the gas industry stands to profit; a recent study commissioned by the Department of Energy found that exporting US gas would raise the price here at home by as much as 27 percent. 

    According to the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if we're to limit global warming to just 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels (a level that avoids climate catastrophe, according to scientists), about two-thirds of the earth's remaining fossil fuels need to stay underground. In the struggle to mitigate the effects of climate change, Cove Point would take us backwards. We need to move forward.

    Activists at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network are working tirelessly to make sure that the Cove Point facility never comes to pass and that Maryland instead embraces clean energy alternatives. Join them in calling on President Obama to reverse course on his support of LNG exports.

    Protest agaisnt Cove Point
    (Robert Meyers)

  • Demand a Senate Investigation into America's Secret Government

    Senator Dianne Feinstein's allegations that the CIA spied on a Senate investigation of torture under the Bush administration raise serious questions regarding the separation of powers and Congress's ability to monitor our intelligence agencies. And the allegations are only the latest in a series of revelations that show that the United States' secret government is out of control. From our country's actions in the years following 9/11 to the mass surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden, the need for a full accounting of the abuses of our intelligence agencies has become crystal clear.

    In the mid-1970s, a Senate select committee known as the Church Committee uncovered CIA plans to assassinate foreign leaders and FBI spying on and intimidation of peace and civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King, Jr.. Recently, Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., the chief counsel for that committee and recent recipient of the Ridenhour Courage Prize, took to the pages of The Nation to call for a "new Church Committee," one that would serve as "a new nonpartisan, fact-based and comprehensive investigation of our secret government."

    The need for more comprehensive scrutiny of our intelligence operations becomes more apparent every day. Join The Nation and Daily Kos in calling on Congress to launch an independent investigation into America's secret government.

    The CIA
    (Reuters/Larry Downing)

  • Fight the Privatization of Education: Oppose the Nomination of Ted Mitchell

    In October, the Obama administration nominated Ted Mitchell, the chief executive of the NewSchools Venture Fund, to become Under Secretary of the Department of Education. While the nomination has flown largely under the radar, the choice represents an alarming sign that the administration is favoring greater privatization of public education.

    As Lee Fang pointed out last December, Mitchell's connections to for-profit colleges and the movement toward privatization raise real questions about his commitment to public education. On top of his work with the NewSchools Venture Fund, Mitchell has connections to powerful education corporation Pearson and to Salmon River Capital, a venture capital firm that helped to found the for-profit college Capella University. Furthermore, until he stepped down to prepare for his confirmation process, he was on the advisory board of Students Matter, the organization funding a legal challenge to teacher tenure in California.

    While their advocates claim that charter schools and an increase in public-private partnerships will improve educational outcomes for under-served populations, they too often result in severe over-testing, a more segregated education system and fewer protections for teachers, all while generating huge profits for corporations. 

    Education historian Diane Ravich has said that Mitchell "represents the quintessence of the privatization movement." Write to your senators now and tell them to oppose Ted Mitchell's nomination as Under Secretary of the Department of Education.

    Ted Mitchell
    Ted Mitchell, then president and CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund attends the New York Times's “Schools for Tomorrow” conference panel. (AP Photo)

  • Stop the Merger

    Comcast recently announced that it plans to buy Time Warner Cable. If the merger is approved, the country's two largest cable providers would become one behemoth that would control a massive share of our TV and Internet-access markets.

    John Nichols summed up the danger of the merger:

    Merging the two largest cable providers is a big deal in and of itself—allowing one company to become a definitional player in major media markets across the country—but this goes far beyond cable. By expanding its dominance of video and Internet communications into what the Los Angeles Times describes as a “juggernaut” with 30 million subscribers, the company that already controls Universal Studios can drive hard bargains with content providers. It can also define the scope and character of news and public-service programming in dozens of states and hundreds of major cities—including Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, DC.

    Nichols also quoted former FCC Commissioner Mike Copps, who said of the idea, “This is so over the top that it ought to be dead on arrival at the FCC.”

    The Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger would be bad for consumers, bad for our free press and bad for democracy. Tell FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that he must stop the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger.

    Comcast building
    The Comcast Center, second left, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

  • Tell TED Talks: Abortion Is a Human Rights Issue

    In her recent article for The Nation, Jessica Valenti revealed that TED conversations have a policy against presentations that discuss abortion. When she asked TED's content director why no talks about abortion were included in the TEDWomen program, she was told that abortion did not fit into "wider issues of justice, inequality and human rights."

    As Valenti points out, recent years have made it all the more clear that abortion is a human rights issue: the United Nations has classified lack of access to abortion as torture, Savita Halappanavar died because a Catholic hospital in Ireland refused to end her pregnancy and the United States has seen the number of restrictions on the procedure skyrocket.

    In a letter, NARAL Pro-Choice America summed up the importance of including abortion among TED's many topics, stating that "the hesitation to discuss these issues among inspired thinkers, writers, scientists and advocates prevents us from moving forward into an enlightened future."

    It is vital that the influential institution change its policy. Tell TED Talks: Abortion is a human rights issue.

    Protest for reproductive rights
    Abortion-rights activist and National Organization for Women (NOW) member Erin Matson, right, and others, holds up a signs as anti-abortion demonstrators march towards the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Tell Congress: It's Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

    It's time to raise the minimum wage.

    President Obama did the right thing when he announced during his State of the Union address that he would raise the minimum wage for future federal contract workers. Now, it's Congress's turn to act. They can do so by passing the Fair Minimum Wage Act, a bill that would bring the federal minimum wage to $10.10 by 2015, index further increases to inflation and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time since 1991.

    Had it kept up with inflation, the current federal minimum wage would be $10.74. Instead, it's $7.25. For a full-time worker, that amounts to an annual income of $15,080, a total wholly inadequate for addressing the needs of working families.

    It is far past time that we make this necessary and common sense change. Join The Nation and the Campaign for America's Future in calling on Congress to pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act. 

    Minimum wage protester
    Darlene Handy of Baltimore holds up a banner during a rally to support raising the minimum wage in Maryland (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

  • President Obama: Give Federal Contract Workers a Raise

    As his 2014 State of the Union address nears, President Obama has said that he's willing to use executive actions to circumvent a gridlocked Congress and to take real steps to fight inequality. He should start by giving a raise to millions of federal contract workers.

    According to the National Employment Law Center (NELP), three out of four workers in service-industry federal contract jobs make less than $10 per hour and only eleven percent have employer-provided health insurance. Of the workers that NELP spoke to for their study, fifty-six percent admitted to having trouble paying their monthly bills. An executive action ensuring these workers are paid a living wage would go a long way. 

    A large majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage for all workers. However, an increase nationwide would require an act of Congress. While lawmakers drag their feet, President Obama could take concrete action to ensure that millions of workers paid with tax payer dollars are given a fair shake. Join us in calling on President Obama to give federal contract workers a raise. 

    Federally contracted workers strike earlier this year
    Federally contracted workers strike in July of 2013. Courtesy of GoodJobsNation.org

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  • Tell Congress: We Must Rein in the NSA

    The movement to end mass surveillance and protect privacy is growing. On February 11th, over 5,000 websites participated in "The Day We Fight Back," a worldwide day of activism in opposition to the NSA's mass spying. All together, the coalition generated over 86,000 calls and wrote nearly 180,000 emails to Congress.

    It will take even more pressure to convince lawmakers to take action. We're joining the movement by asking our readers to write to Congress in support of the USA Freedom Act, a bipartisan effort to rein in the worst abuses of the NSA. The bill would end the bulk collection of Americans’ records, allow communications providers to disclose the number of surveillance orders they receive, mandate the government publish how many people are subject to surveillance orders and make public significant FISA court opinions.

    To truly end the NSA's out-of-control surveillance and abuse of power, we need real reform. Write to your representative and senators now and tell them to support the USA Freedom Act. To amplify your voice, call the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 or tweet using the hashtag #StoptheNSA. 

    NSA Director
    A reporter takes a mobile phone picture of National Security Agency (NSA) Director U.S. Army General Keith Alexander. (Reuters)

  • Raise the Minimum Wage

    It’s time to raise the minimum wage.

    Had it kept up with inflation, the current federal minimum wage would be $10.74. Instead, it's $7.25. For a full-time worker, that amounts to an annual income of $15,080, a total wholly inadequate for addressing the needs of working families.   

    Support for a raise is growing. As The Nation’s Steven Hsieh reports, a group of seventy-five leading economists recently signed a letter in favor of a Democratic proposal to raise the federal minimum wage by ninety-five cents a year over the next three years—bringing it to $10.10 by 2015—and to index further increases to inflation. In their letter, the economists point out that, far from reducing employment, raising the minimum wage will stimulate the economy as a whole. They also debunk the myth that minimum wage workers are teenagers looking to earn an extra buck, pointing out that the vast majority of those who would benefit from the increase are adults—a disproportionate number of them women—who depend on their earnings to support a family.

    It is far past time that we make this necessary and common sense change. Contact your senators and representative today and tell them to support an increase in the minimum wage.

    A protester demands a raise in her state's minimum wage
    Darlene Handy of Baltimore holds up a banner during a rally to support raising the minimum wage in Maryland (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

  • Demand the United States Military Prioritize Civilian Lives

    This fall marks twelve years since the invasion of Afghanistan. While many Americans can cite the more than 2,200 Americans killed and the billions of dollars spent on that war, even those who are vociferously antiwar often fail to discuss, or even comprehend, its catastrophic effects on Afghan civilians. In part to remedy this collective ignorance, The Nation created an interactive database detailing Afghan civilian deaths by United States and coalition forces. As both the project and the accompanying issue of the magazine document, the United States military has often been inadequate to the task of accounting for the lives lost in its armed conflicts.  

    This reality is reflected in the Pentagon's allocation of resources; the Department of Defense does not have an office dedicated explicitly to tracking and reducing civilian casualties. As a result, lessons are often not institutionalized and the military risks repeating its mistakes. As Robert Dreyfuss and Nick Turse write, “the American people, the media, academia and think tanks all have a role to play in demanding that, in any future wars, the United States place the highest priority on avoiding civilian casualties and, if they occur, on being accountable and making amends.”

    It would be nice to live in a world where war and militarization were rare, but, until then, we must demand the protection of innocent life when conflicts happen. Sign our open letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asking him to implement a permanent office at the Pentagon dedicated to monitoring and preventing civilian casualties. Then, for more information on documenting the human costs of war, visit the Center for Civilians in Conflict.

    An Afghan woman approaches US soldiers
    Afghan woman and girl approach soldiers from the U.S. Army during a dismounted patrol in Kandahar. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne)

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  • Demand that Congress Renew Long-Term Unemployment Benefits

    Because Congress failed to act, 1.3 million Americans lost a key source of income just three days after Christmas. The now-expired Emergency Unemployment Compensation program provided unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless after state benefits ran out, usually around twenty-six weeks. The program is still sorely needed; even as the economy slowly improves, long-term unemployment remains at its highest level since World War II. 

    While Democrats in the Senate have vowed to make the EUC a top priority in 2014, it’s still unclear whether even a modest three-month extension can pass without considerable public pressure. Join thousands of Nation readers in calling on Congress to extend this crucial lifeline.

    Unemployment Guide
    Sonja Jackson, of Detroit, holds an Employment Guide standing in line while attending a job fair in Livonia, Michigan. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    After completing this action, you will receive periodic updates on articles, events and activism opportunities from The Nation. You may unsubscribe at any time.

  • Demand that Congress Renew Long-Term Unemployment Benefits

    Because Congress failed to act, 1.3 million Americans lost a key source of income just three days after Christmas. The now-expired Emergency Unemployment Compensation program provided unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless after state benefits ran out, usually around twenty-six weeks. The program is still sorely needed; even as the economy slowly improves, long-term unemployment remains at its highest level since World War II. 

    While Democrats in the Senate have vowed to make the EUC a top priority in 2014, it’s still unclear whether even a modest three-month extension can pass without considerable public pressure. Join thousands of Nation readers in calling on Congress to extend this crucial lifeline.

    Unemployment Guide
    Sonja Jackson, of Detroit, holds an Employment Guide standing in line while attending a job fair in Livonia, Michigan. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

  • Tell Congress: Don't Cut Emergency Unemployment Benefits

    For at least one group of Americans, it's shaping up to be a bleak holiday season. Because the House of Representatives failed to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program before they left for vacation, 1.3 million long-term unemployed Americans stand to lose their unemployment benefits just three days after Christmas.  

    Congress could still pass the EUC extension when they return after the holiday break. Join The Nation and Daily Kos in calling on Congress not to leave the long-term unemployed out in the cold. Contact your representative now and tell them that they must extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.  

    Woman at a job fair
    Sonja Jackson, of Detroit, holds an Employment Guide standing in line while attending a job fair in Livonia, Michigan. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    After completing this action, you will receive periodic updates on articles, events and activism opportunities from The Nation and Daily Kos. You may unsubscribe at any time.

  • Tell Congress: Don't Leave the Unemployed Out in the Cold

    Our own George Zornick has a dramatic update on the ongoing budget negotiations unfolding on Capitol Hill:

    Thursday morning, House Democrats held a deeply emotional hearing featuring several long-term unemployed Americans who pleaded with Congress to extend the expiring federal Emergency Unemployment Insurance program, which provides benefits to jobless Americans after their state benefits run out.

    The program has been extended or modified eleven times since it was created in 2008 as the economy cratered, but is set to expire at the end of 2013—meaning 2.15 million long-term unemployed would lose benefits entirely.

    The looming House-Senate budget negotiations have been viewed as the best vehicle to extend the EUC program—and Thursday’s hearing ended with some dramatic news from House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. She made it clear that Democrats couldn’t support any agreement that didn’t have an EUC extension, either in the actual budget or as a separate piece of legislation.

    The White House recently released a report highlighting the devastating effects the cut in unemployment benefits would have on states across the country—260,000 unemployed Floridians would see their benefits disappear, as would over 140,000 people in Massachusetts. Rather than put people back to work, the cut in benefits would worsen our long-standing jobs crisis: that same report estimates they would cost the entire country 240,000 jobs. 

    Join The Nation and Daily Kos in calling on Congress not to leave the long-term unemployed out in the cold. Contact your representative now and tell them to make sure an extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program is included in any budget deal.

    Employment Guide
    Sonja Jackson, of Detroit, holds an Employment Guide standing in line while attending a job fair in Livonia, Michigan. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    After completing this action, you will receive periodic updates on articles, events and activism opportunities from The Nation and Daily Kos. You may unsubscribe at any time.

  • Senator Harry Reid: Before We Extend the War in Afghanistan, Let Congress Vote

    The war in Afghanistan has lasted thirteen years, making it the longest in American history. Despite the unpopularity of the conflict, President Obama just announced that he would leave almost 10,000 US troops in the country for two more years—without the approval of Congress.

    As George Zornick reported, a bipartisan group of Senators are planning to introduce an amendment to the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could slow down the President's plans to prolong the conflict. The amendment would call on President Obama to seek approval from Congress for any extended presence in Afghanistan.

    As Senator Jeff Merkley, who co-sponsored earlier efforts to call for a vote, said, "Automatic renewal is fine for Netflix and gym memberships, but it is not the right approach when it comes to war.” Our elected representatives must have a say in whether we prolong the war in Afghanistan. Join us in calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the amendment up for a vote. Then, to amplify your voice, call the Senate Majority Leader at 202-224-3542 and tweet at him @SenatorReid.

    The body of a soldier who died in Afghanistan is offloaded at Dover Air Force Base in September.
    The body of a soldier who died in Afghanistan is offloaded at Dover Air Force Base in September. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

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  • Demand an End to Child Labor

    It's not allowed to happen in Russia, or in Kazakhstan—but in the United States, children as young as twelve are allowed to toil on tobacco farms, performing backbreaking work and putting their health and lives at risk.

    As Gabriel Thompson and Mariya Strauss document in The Nation, agricultural work is dangerous: on top of exposure to heavy pesticides and the possibility of acute nicotine poisoning, young workers are vulnerable to hazards involving farm vehicles, grain silos and manure pits.

    As Strauss reports, since 2012, when the Obama administration rescinded plans to implement new safety measures and a ban on children working in tobacco farms, at least thirteen young workers have died. Had the administration acted then, we might not have lost Michael Steele, a 15-year-old saving up for a pickup truck who died in a tractor accident, or Enrique, a hardworking 14-year-old who was crushed to death while working on a ranch in Idaho.

    The Children's Act for Responsible Employment (CARE Act), introduced by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard this year but blocked by the GOP-controlled Education and Workforce Committee, would bring child labor standards in line with protections in other industries and increase civil penalties for abuse. The measure faces stiff opposition, but the exploitation of children, in the final telling, should be impossible to defend.

    Join The Nation in calling for an end to child labor in agriculture. Contact your representatives and demand they fight to bring the CARE Act up for a vote. Then tweet at Representative John Kline (@repjohnkline), chair of the Education and Workforce Committee, and demand his committee act to fight this gross injustice. 

    Children working in tobacco fields
    Tar from the tobacco leaves stains the hands of young workers.

  • It's Time to Legalize Marijuana

    “Enough. It’s time to end pot prohibition. It’s time to legalize marijuana.”

    In The Nation's special issue on marijuana, editor Katrina vanden Heuvel sums up the only sensible way forward in our country’s approach to a drug that our three most recent Presidents—along with almost half of all Americans—admit to using.

    Despite growing support for legalization and the lack of any clear scientific evidence of marijuana's health hazards, police departments in the United States make an average of almost 700,000 arrests for marijuana per year. Prohibition has a particularly devastating effect on communities of color; there are racial disparities in pot arrests in nearly all cities and states and the eleven states with the highest disparity arrest black people at six times the rate of whites. It’s a “public health issue,” but not in the sense the Obama administration claims—it’s an issue of unnecessary violence and loss of freedom, racial injustice, and avoidable costs. 

    Congress can start to change this by taking up a bill introduced by Dana Rohrabacher which would prevent the federal government from continuing to prosecute citizens who are acting in accordance with their state’s marijuana laws. Although the Department of Justice said they wouldn't stand in the way of states that decide to try marijuana legalization, this law would ensure it and would help more states and localities introduce decriminalization initiatives without fear of federal meddling.

    Join The Nation in calling on Congress to begin to pave the way for nationwide legalization of marijuana.

    A marijuana plant
    (Reuters/Nir Elias)

  • President Obama: Pardon Prisoners and Commute Unjust Sentences

    While the Obama administration has fallen short on many of the actual policy changes needed to end the "war on drugs," there's one tool at the administrative's disposal that could have a sweeping and immediate impact on our criminal justice system: the pardon power. Although Attorney General Eric Holder has called on federal prosecutors to avoid mandatory minimums, which require automatic sentences for certain crimes and take away judges' power to consider individual circumstances, prosecutors continue to pursue them and offenders continue to serve decades-long sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. 

    On their website, the organization Families Against Mandatory Minimums highlights some of the most striking cases: There's Weldon Angelos, serving fifty-five years for selling marijuana while possessing a fire arm—a sentence the judge on the case called "unjust, cruel and even irrational." There's also Stephanie George, a mother of three serving life in prison without parole for being "a girlfriend and bag holder and money holder" in a drug conspiracy.

    The public is clearly not served by locking up offenders who pose no danger, separating them from their families and taking away their ability to work or otherwise contribute to society. Join The Nation in calling on President Obama to pardon or commute the sentences of federal prisoners serving excessive sentences for nonviolent drug crimes.

    Prison hand
    Reuters/Joshua Lott

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  • Congratulations Janet Yellen. Now Let's Focus on Jobs.

    After pressure from progressive and women's rights organizations, President Obama nominated Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve.  Despite some misgivings about her support of Clinton-era policies such as the repeal of Glass-Steagal and NAFTA, Yellen's nomination speaks well to the administration's commitment to addressing our nation's unemployment crisis. The current vice chairwoman has repeatedly articulated the importance of emphasizing employment over concerns about inflation. 

    At TK% unemployment, it is absolutely imperative that the new Federal Reserve chair 

    Even in a contentious Congress, it seems likely that Yellen will be appointed. Join The Nation in calling on her to keep up her focus on jobs and to pour her energies into addressing our nation's unemployment crisis. 

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  • Demand the United States Military Prioritize Civilian Lives

    This fall marks twelve years since the invasion of Afghanistan. While many Americans can cite the more than 2,200 Americans killed and the billions of dollars spent on that war, even those who are vociferously antiwar often fail to discuss, or even comprehend, its catastrophic effects on Afghan civilians. In part to remedy this collective ignorance, The Nation created an interactive database detailing Afghan civilian deaths by United States and coalition forces. As both the project and the accompanying issue of the magazine document, the United States military has often been inadequate to the task of accounting for the lives lost in its armed conflicts.  

    This reality is reflected in the Pentagon's allocation of resources; the Department of Defense does not have an office dedicated explicitly to tracking and reducing civilian casualties. As a result, lessons are often not institutionalized and the military risks repeating its mistakes. As Robert Dreyfuss and Nick Turse write, “the American people, the media, academia and think tanks all have a role to play in demanding that, in any future wars, the United States place the highest priority on avoiding civilian casualties and, if they occur, on being accountable and making amends.”

    It would be nice to live in a world where war and militarization were rare, but, until then, we must demand the protection of innocent life when conflicts happen. Sign our open letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asking him to implement a permanent office at the Pentagon dedicated to monitoring and preventing civilian casualties. Then, for more information on documenting the human costs of war, visit the Center for Civilians in Conflict.

    An Afghan woman approaches US soldiers
    Afghan woman and girl approach soldiers from the U.S. Army during a dismounted patrol in Kandahar. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne)

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  • No Military Intervention in Syria

    UPDATE: While President Obama has agreed to pursue a diplomatic solution to punishing President Bashar al-Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons, he and Secretary Kerry have not entirely ruled out military action. Since Congress's opposition to a proposed strike was key to the administration's decision to back off from their original plan, it is imperative that we keep the pressure on lawmakers to oppose military intervention in Syria.

    After pressure from Congress and a skeptical public, President Obama announced that he would ask for Congressional authorization before launching military action against Syria in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons. It's now up to Congress to weigh the many humanitarian and practical arguments against such an attack and to rise to the moral challenge of the moment.

    In a recently released statement, the International Crisis Group—a leading global think tank and advocacy organization—came out with a strong case against intervention. They wrote: “Quite apart from talk of outrage, deterrence and restoring U.S. credibility, the priority must be the welfare of the Syrian people. Whether or not military strikes are ordered, this only can be achieved through imposition of a sustained ceasefire and widely accepted political transition.” Military action by the United States would run the risk of killing civilians, would draw the country deeper into an increasingly sectarian civil war and would further complicate attempts at a political solution to the crisis, which has the best chance of ending the violence.

    The majority of Americans do not want military intervention in Syria and opposition is growingAs Katrina vanden Heuvel writes, "now it is time for democracy to work." Contact your senators and representatives now and demand they say "no" to military intervention in Syria.

    Shelling in Syria
    Smoke rises after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (Reuters/Khattab Abdulaa)

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  • Tell the New York City Council: Pass the Community Safety Act

     At first glance, the NYPD's reliance on stop-and-frisk appears to be on its last legs. A federal judge ruled the practice unconstitutional and New York City mayoral candidates are suddenly eager to condemn it. But there's still work to be done. Earlier this summer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the Community Safety Act, an initiative that would ban discriminatory profiling by the NYPD and establish oversight over the Department. The mayor, who has defended the NYPD's practice of targeting communities of color, continues to use his considerable power to defeat the law. 

    The New York City Council is expected to hold on override vote on the Community Safety Act on Thursday, August 22. Join The Nation in calling on the Council to pass this vital piece of legislation. Then take a minute to call your Council member to make sure they know where you stand and be sure to lend your support to Communities United for Police Reform


    (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

  • President Obama: Break Up the Old Boys' Club and Appoint Janet Yellen

    UPDATE: After pressure from leadings economists, activists and members of Congress, Larry Summers has withdrawn his name for consideration for the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve. This clears the way for President Obama to make history by nominating Janet Yellen, who would be more likely to use the position to focus on the critical task of addressing our nation's longstanding unemployment crisis. 

    After Senate Democrats sent President Obama a letter urging him to appoint Janet Yellen head of the Federal Reserve, White House officials expressed annoyance with the pressure pundits and politicians are putting on the President regarding the decision. 

    However frustrated the President may be, our country's economy depends upon us not being silent. Rumors are circulating that Larry Summers could get the job, despite the fact that he has yet to show any regret over enthusiastically backing the deregulation that got us into the financial crisis. Yellen, on the other hand, sounded the alarm about our impending housing crisis before many were willing to entertain the idea. On top of that, a recent report by The Wall Street Journal revealed that she was the most accurate forecaster in all of the Fed.

    If appointed, Yellen would be the first woman to head the Federal Reserve. Her detractors claim that she doesn't have the "gravitas" for the job and hint that the markets will become skittish upon her appointment. On the contrary, she would bring a much-needed perspective to a position too often filled by a tight circle of elite men who subscribe to the prevailing wisdom that crashed our economy.

    All Americans have a stake in this crucial appointment. Tell the President to break up the old boys' club and appoint Janet Yellen head of the Federal Reserve. 

    Janet Yellen
    Janet Yellen, vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank, speaks at the Economic Club of New York (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

  • Petition with Daily Kos

     This is our Daily Kos petition Rumors are circulating that President Obama is planning to appoint Larry Summers to replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve. This would be a terrible mistake. As William Greider writes, by appointing Summers, the President would be "rewarding the same guys who got things disastrously wrong for the country—the Clinton-Rubin policy makers who danced to Wall Street’s tune of financial deregulation and collaborated with the Greenspan Fed and Wall Street to gut prudential regulation like the Glass-Steagall Act." In other words, the President would be rewarding the same guys who wrecked our economy.

    Janet Yellen, the vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington and the other rumored frontrunner, would be a much better choice. She's a strong voice for job creation and assertions that she lacks the "toughness" or "gravitas" for the job reveal more about the sexism of her critics than they do about the deeply experienced economist. 

    If our economy is ever going to truly recover, we must move forward, not back. Join The Nation in imploring President Obama not to appoint Larry Summers head of the Federal Reserve. 

  • Tell President Obama that Larry Summers Is Unfit to be Head of the Federal Reserve

    Rumors are circulating that President Obama is planning to appoint Larry Summers to replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve. This would be a terrible mistake. As William Greider writes, by appointing Summers, the President would be "rewarding the same guys who got things disastrously wrong for the country—the Clinton-Rubin policy makers who danced to Wall Street’s tune of financial deregulation and collaborated with the Greenspan Fed and Wall Street to gut prudential regulation like the Glass-Steagall Act." In other words, the President would be rewarding the same guys who wrecked our economy.

    Janet Yellen, the vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington and the other rumored frontrunner, would be a much better choice. She's a strong voice for job creation and assertions that she lacks the "toughness" or "gravitas" for the job reveal more about the sexism of her critics than they do about the deeply experienced economist. 

    If our economy is ever going to truly recover, we must move forward, not back. Join The Nation in imploring President Obama not to appoint Larry Summers head of the Federal Reserve. 

    Larry Summers
    Larry Summers watches as President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden speak in the East Room of the White House on January 30, 2009. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)

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  • Thank North Carolina's Moral Monday Protesters for Standing Up for Justice

    This year, the GOP took power in the North Carolina state house and governor's mansion for the first time since Reconstruction. Once in office, Republicans didn't lose any time implementing a radical right-wing agenda. In the past two months, they have declined the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, ended unemployment benefits for 71,000 people, repealed a law that allowed death-row inmates to challenge sentences based on racial bias and pushed for a host of voting restrictions that threaten to disenfranchise college students and people of color. 

    Legislators even attempted to impose draconian restrictions on abortion rights by attaching them first to so-called "anti-Sharia" legislation and then to a motorcycle safety bill. 

    In the face of all of this, the people of North Carolina are fighting back. Beginning on April 29, a coalition lead by the North Carolina NAACP has been staging inspiring weekly nonviolent protests at their statehouse, called Moral Mondays. So far, more than 900 activists have been arrested. 

    Join The Nation in thanking the Moral Monday protesters and telling them we've got their back. Then, if you can, head to the North Carolina NAACP and give a donation to keep Moral Mondays going strong. 

    Moral Monday protesters
    Moral Monday activists, including the original 17 protesters. (Eric Etheridge) 

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  • Oregon Is Moving on a Creative Solution to the Student Loan Debt Crisis. Spread the Word.

    While Congress has finally agreed upon a deal that prevents federal student loan rates from doubling, students are hardly in the clear. The bipartisan agreement lowers rates for this upcoming academic year, but then pegs them to the financial markets. As a result, future students will almost certainly pay more. If the federal governement is ever going to address student debt in a real way, it's clear that we face an uphill battle. 

    Despite this, there is hope in the struggle to confront our $1 trillion student debt crisis. After a campaign lead by the state Working Families Party and college students at Portland State University, Oregon recently passed a bill that instructs the state's Higher Education Coordination Commission to develop a "Pay It Forward, Pay It Back" plan to finance public higher education. Under the plan, students pay nothing while in school, then pay a fixed percentage of their income (3 percent after a 4-year degree) to fund higher education going forward. As Katrina vanden Heuvel writes, the idea represents a "huge stride toward putting an end to the crushing debt horror stories which Occupy Wall Street helped to place on the national radar." 

    Since 2003, the average student loan burden for a twenty-five-year-old with student debt has grown an astounding 93%. With 10% of student loan borrowers owing more than $54,000, many young people are finding large purchases such as a house or car to be nearly impossible. Clearly, the status quo is not sustainable. Write to your state representatives now and implore them to introduce a "Pay It Forward, Pay It Back" plan in your state. 

    Students Not Customers
    (Creative Commons)

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  • Tell Congress: Honor John Lewis with a New Voting Rights Act

    In late June, the Supreme Court invalidated the heart of the Voting Rights Act. The decision nullified the portion of the law, Section 4, that defines the states and counties covered under Section 5, which requires federal preclearence for changes to voting laws in areas with histories of discrimination. Now, the responsibility falls to legislators to update the list of areas Section 5 covers and to give the VRA back its teeth. 

    It's time for Congress to act. 

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has expressed her commitment to restoring the VRA, calling for something called "...the John Lewis Voting Rights Act." John Lewis, now a Congressman from Georgia, was at the forefront of the struggle for voting rights; he led the pivotal first march from Selma to Montgomery, where he was almost beaten to death by Alabama state troopers in the struggle to pass the original VRA. 

    Texas has already implemented a voter id law—the most restrictive in the nation—that was previously judged to be discriminatory by a federal court and at least five other southern states are pushing to pass harsh new voting restrictions.  Meanwhile, a number of GOP leaders in the House have joined the call to protect voting rights, giving some hope that action may be possible. Contact your representatives now and implore them to honor John Lewis's legacy with a new Voting Rights Act. 

    Women vote in Los Angeles in 2008
    Women vote in the U.S. presidential election in Los Angeles, November 4, 2008. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

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  • Take Action to Help Saudi Activists

    Earlier this month, the Saudi government charged two human rights activists with the crime of “inciting a wife against her husband.” Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni—who have protested against their country's oppression of women—were arrested simply for bringing groceries to Nathalie Morin, a Canadian national whose husband left her locked in her home without sufficient food and water. They face ten months in prison and a two-year travel ban. 

    As Katha Pollitt reports, Morin has since posted the truth on her blog. Her story could keep the activists out of prison.

    The organization Muslims for Progressive Values is calling on supporters to contact Thomas MacDonald, the Canadian ambassador in Riyadh, to implore him to get Nathalie Morin’s statement in a formal legal document. Use our form to contact MacDonald and demand he take action to keep Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni out of jail.

    Saudi human rights activists
    Wajeha H. Al-Huwaider, far left, with Phellicia Dell, Rebecca Lolosoli, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tina Brown. (PRNewsFoto/The Daily Beast) 

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  • Tell Your Senators to End the 'Secret Law' Behind Government Surveillance

    President Obama claims that he welcomes debate on the balance between privacy and security. But his administration is keeping the veil over the legal reasoning it used to justify its broad surveillance of phone calls and internet communication. The absence of this information leaves Americans ill equipped to even begin to determine whether or not they believe such a sweeping invasion of privacy is justified.

    On Tuesday, June 11, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill that would require the Attorney General to disclose significant opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The Senators argue that the disclosure would provide Americans the information needed to understand what legal authority the government is claiming to spy on them under the PATRIOT Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    With civil liberties hanging in the balance, this debate is critical yet remains impossible until the Obama Administration becomes more open with its constituents. Contact your Senators and implore them to end the "secret law" behind government surveillance. 

    Document from FISC
    AP Photo

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  • Walmart Workers Deserve a Raise

    While Walmart rakes in annual profits of more than one billion dollars, the average hourly wage of a Walmart sales associate, according to a report by IBISWorld, is just $8.81. That translates to an annual salary of $15,575, far below the federal poverty level for a family of four.

    On top of being unjust, Walmart’s low wages come at a high price for American taxpayers: a recent report revealed that, because the retail giant's employees are forced to utilize government benefits to supplement their meager income, a single Walmart Supercenter could cost taxpayers from $900,000 to $1.7 million per year.

    In the face of this, Walmart workers are fighting back: workers recently launched a historic prolonged strike against the company and traveled from around the country and world to Walmart headquarters to demonstrate at the retail giant's annual shareholders' meeting. 

    As the largest private employer in the nation, Walmart must be held accountable. Sign our open letter to company CEO Mike Duke and the Walmart Board of Directors demand that Walmart give its workers a raise.

    Editor's Note: To discuss Walmart's statement regarding The Nation's internship program, head to our response here. 

    Walmart shoppers

    Shoppers at a Walmart store in Chicago. (Reuters/John Gress) 

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  • Tell Congress to Protect the Freedom of the Press

    Recent reports that the Obama Justice Department obtained two months' worth of phone records of Associated Press reporters reveal a distressing pattern of executive overreach. Even more disturbing was the disclosure that the department investigated the reporting activities of Fox News chief Washington correspondent as a potential crime—solicitation of leaks.

    Our democracy cannot thrive without a free press. A bipartisan group of House members have proposed a Telephone Records Protection Act, which would require the government to obtain court approval before requesting telephone records from service providers. As The Nation's editors wrote, this act would create a "baseline standard for protecting the privacy of every American, including the reporters, imperfect as they may be, who arm the citizenry with the power which knowledge gives." Write your representatives now and implore them to take this vital step toward protecting Americans' privacy and democracy. 

    President Barack Obama                     

    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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  • Support the Telephone Records Protection Act

     In a recent editorial, the editor's of The Nation pointed out the dangers in

  • Tell the Big Technology Companies: We Deserve Fair Contracts

    While companies such as Facebook and Google rely on users for content and profits, they use one-sided "Terms of Service" contracts to exclude these content providers from negotiating control of their pictures, text and personal data. Sign our open letter to Facebook, Google and other user-driven technology companies and demand fair and transparent contracts.

    FacebookGoogle                            (Flickr/West McGowan)                                                                                             (Ap Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) 

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  • Tell Your Senators to Act to Address Sexual Assault in the Military

    In the weeks after the Pentagon announced that an estimated 26,000 people were sexually assaulted in the military last year—an increase of 36% from 2011—three high-ranking officers charged with their branch's sexual assault prevention program were themselves charged with assault or harassment. More recently, the Pentagon announced that it had suspended 60 sexual assault counselors, recruiters and drill instructors for engaging in illicit behavior, some of which involved sexual assault. 

    The revelations reflect what the numbers have already made clear: the military has been grossly negligent in creating a culture where victims of sexual assault can seek justice. Of the thousands of instances of sexual assault last year, 90% went unreported. 

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013, a bill that would remove responsibility for prosecuting sex crimes out of the military's chain of command. As Senator Gillibrand said, "When any single victim of sexual assault is forced to salute her attacker, clearly our system is broken." Write to your representatives now and implore them to support the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013.

    Marine Ariana Klay, who brought a lawsuit against the US Military after she was raped.

    Marine Ariana Klay, who brought a lawsuit against the US Military after she was raped. (The Invisible War).

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  • Congress Must Guarantee the Right to Vote

    Today, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, effectively gutting one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in the twentieth century. The ruling will make it easier for states to pass strict voter id laws, limits on registration and early voting and redistricting plans that disproportionately disenfranchise people of color. 

    Frustrating as SCOTUS's ruling may be, we can take steps to expand, rather than limit, Americans' access to the polls. Currently, the right to vote is not enshrined in the US Constitution. To fix this and to create a new tool to fight discriminatory voting laws, lawmakers in the House of Representatives have introduced an amendment that would add a few simple, yet vital, words to our founding document: 

    SECTION 1: Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides.

    SECTION 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.

    Contact your representative and demand Congress act now to pass a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote.

    Absentee voting officials in Oklahoma
    Cathey Rains, left, and Mary Austin, right, absentee voting officials, wait in an empty polling place during early voting at the Oklahoma County Board of Elections in Oklahoma City, Monday, Aug 8, 2011.  (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) 

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  • Tell the Obama Administration and Congress: Enforce the Civil Rights Act

    Activists are charging the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority with violating the civil rights of a half-million bus riders, 75 percent of them black or Latino, by cutting 1 million hours of bus service and raising monthly bus passes to $72 while giving away public funds to rail developers and contractors. Consequently, community groups are calling on President Obama to employ Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which gives the executive branch of the US government the power to cut off federal funds from any agency that employs federal funding in a racist or discriminatory manner. 

    President Obama has thus far made little use of his power under Title VI. Compounding the problem, civil rights organizations have found their work seriously hampered by a Supreme Court decision that ruled that they could not sue under Title VI unless Congress wrote a law explicitly stating otherwise. 

    Join us in partnership with the Labor/Community Strategy Center's Fight for the Soul of the Cities campaign and urge the Obama administration and Congress to enforce the Civil Rights Act. Lawmakers must conduct a thorough investigation of federally funded agencies and introduce a new Civil Rights bill with strong Title VI provisions that would allow civil rights groups to once again file cases. 

    LBJ signs the Civil Rights Act

    LBJ signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964

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  • Tell Attorney General Eric Holder: Ban the Solitary Confinement of Youth

    Every day in the United States, youth under the age of eighteen are held in solitary confinement, a form of punishment in which inmates are placed alone in a cell for 22-24 hours a day with little or no human contact. 

    The practice of solitary confinement is associated with high rates of severe mental illness and suicide and the effects are compounded in young people, who are still developing emotionally, psychologically and physically. While the growing use of the practice in our prisons is cruel and unjust for all inmates, the need to end its use among youth is particularly urgent. Sign our open letter in support of a call by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the ACLU and numerous other advocacy and religious organizations for Attorney General Eric Holder to ban the practice of holding youth in federal custody in solitary confinement.

     A jail in new Hampshire

    A jail in New Hampshire (AP Photo) 

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  • Stand Up for Domestic Workers

    In a 2012 survey by the Center for Urban Economic Development, 23 percent of domestic workers and 67 percent of live-in domestic workers interviewed earned less than minimum wage. On top of the paltry pay, though the workers reported regular abuse and violations, a full 91 percent admitted that they didn't complain about poor working conditions for fear of losing their job.

    In recognition of this grim state of affairs for many low-wage workers, Hawaii, New York and, most recently, California have each passed a Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, a historic law guaranteeing rights previously denied to workers in some of the fastest growing, and most poorly-paid, occupations in the country. The laws guarantee nannies, housecleaners, caretakers and other domestic workers wage protections, overtime pay, paid time-off and at least minimal protection from abuse and harassment.

    Groups such as the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Domestic Workers United are campaigning for legislation protecting domestic workers in states across the country. Write to your state representatives and tell them to fight for a Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights in your state. 

    A domestic worker

    (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

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  • Stand with Florida Atlantic University Students Against For-Profit Prisons

    Last week, the administration of Florida Atlantic University raised eyebrows when officials announced that they had sold the naming rights to the school’s new football stadium to the GEO Group, the nation’s second-largest private prison company. (The GEO Group’s CEO George Zoley is an FAU alum, and the company is based in Boca Raton, Florida, one mile away from the FAU campus.)

    Private prisons are immoral, Orwellian institutions. To combat any trend against growing levels of incarceration, they spend millions on lobbying to make sure that “the War on Drugs”, “three strikes” laws and the incarceration of undocumented immigrants, remain the rule of the land. Moreover, the GEO Group is a particularly egregious company. Describing one of its juvenile jails in Mississippi, a judge called GEO Group’s facilities “a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions” and "a picture of such horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world" and ordered mass transfers out of the prison and ordered the company to stop locking children in solitary confinement.

    Join The Nation in asking FAU President Mary Jane Saunders and the Board of Trustees to reverse their deal with GEO Group.

    Florida Atlantic University

  • Stand Up for Access To Emergency Contraception

    On May 1, the Obama administration's Justice Department appealed a court ruling directing the Food and Drug Administration to listen to the recommendations of its own scientists and make emergency contraception—otherwise known as Plan B or the morning after pill—available over-the-counter for all women and girls with no age restrictions.

    The appeal comes a day after the FDA announced that they would allow girls ages 15 and older over-the-counter access to the drug if they could show identification proving their age. While a step in the right direction, that age limit imposes an unnecessary barrier on girls under fifteen and makes access difficult or impossible for already marginalized populations, such as the young and undocumented. Delays in optaining emergency contraception can have serious consequences: the drug works best the earlier it is taken and it must be taken within five days of unprotected sex in order to be effective at all. 

    The science on emergency contraception is clear. It is safer than many painkillers and cough medicine already sold over the counter and there is ample evidence that young women are capable of taking it safely. While President Obama has spoken eloquently about the right to reproductive healthcare, his administration refuses to lift this clearly political impediment on the health and bodily autonomy of women and girls.

    Sign our open letter to President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius imploring them to abide by the federal court ruling and to make emergency contraception available over the counter to women and girls of all ages with no restrictions.

    A pharmacy in Toronto

    Contraceptives at a pharmacy in Toronto (Flickr/Cory Doctorow) 

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  • President Obama: Close Guantánamo Bay Now

    More than three months into President Obama's second term in office, 166 men are still imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay, the majority of them held for more than 11 years without any charge or fair trial. Currently, more than 100 of these men are engaged in a hunger strike. In an April 14 New York Times op ed, Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, one of 86 prisoners languishing at Guantánamo despite having been cleared for release, described the harrowing conditions: "One man here weighs just 77 pounds," he wrote. "Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago."

    While President Obama has rightly argued that Congress is standing in the way of his fulfilling his promise to close the prison, human rights groups have pointed out the many meaningful actions he can take. The Center for Constitutional Rights is calling on the President to end his "self-imposed moratorium" on releasing Yemeni detainees (many of the hunger strikers are from Yemen), to resume prisoner transfers and to appoint a senior official to "shepherd the process of closure."

    Sign our open letter and implore President Obama to take the steps outlined by the CCR and to fulfill his promise to close Guantánamo Bay. To amplify your voice, call the White House at 202-456-1111.

    Protesters calling for the closing of the U.S.detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in 2009.

    Protesters calling for the closing of the U.S.detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, stand outside of the White House in Washington, March 5, 2009.  (Reuters/Larry Downing)

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  • Tell President Obama: Halt Deportations Now

    Each day that Congress delays passing comprehensive immigration reform, an estimated 1,100 undocumented immigrants are deported, leaving spouses, siblings and even children behind. These families are torn apart despite the fact that, if the “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill or similar legislation passes, many of them could be eligible for legal status and a path to citizenship.

    Although President Obama has been a vocal advocate of immigration reform, his administration has deported a record 1.5 million people. Meanwhile, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues its aggressive enforcement, particularly in low-income communities of color, in pursuit of numbers to fulfill the most excessive deportation quotas in our history.

    While Congress debates, President Obama could make a real difference in the lives of the 11 million undocumented immigrants who have made their home in the United States. Sign our open letter developed in partnership with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and join the many immigrant rights groups, unions and politicians calling on the President to place a moratorium on the deportation of prospective citizens.   

    A protest for rights for undocumented immigrants  A child at an immigrants rights protest

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  • Stop the Appalachian Health Crisis Caused by Mountain Top Removal

    In April of 2012, four leading scientists briefed Congress on the environmental and health impacts of mountain top removal (MTR) mining in Appalachia. Their findings were damning: mountain top removal, the practice of clearing mountain tops of trees and topsoil and then blasting them with explosives to reveal the coal seams underneath, is polluting the Appalachian watershed, decreasing organism diversity, increasing flooding and contaminating ground water. Meanwhile, people living in the affected areas are experiencing high rates of cancer, heart and respiratory disease, along with rising birth defect and mortality rates. 

    Members of the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Campaign, along with numerous Democratic representatives, are pushing for the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act (A.C.H.E. Act, H.R. 526), which would allocate funds to research the affects of mountain top removal and to protect Appalachian families. Write to your representative today and urge them to pass this vital legislation. 

    Mountaintop Removal

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  • URGENT: Tell Your Senators to Preserve Background Checks in Gun Control Legislation

    As the Senate approaches a vote on gun control legislation, amendments and changes in language threaten to hinder any attempts at meaningful reform. Right now, Senator Tom Coburn is advancing a change to the rules regarding background checks that would undermine much of the bill's intent. George Zornick reports:

    “Senator Tom Coburn is pushing a ‘compromise’ that renders background checks virtually meaningless: transferees could use an online portal to self-check themselves, print out the approval, and bring it to a firearms dealer. It would also forbid any records of these checks.”

    Gun control advocates have already agreed to a compromise wherein background checks are required for gun shows and intrastate online sales, but not for all personal transfers. That should be compromise enough for any lawmakers serious about passing effective reform. 

    The Senate will most likely start debate on the bill as early as April 17. Write your Senators now and implore them to ensure any legislation includes meaningful background checks. Then, use the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 to amplify your message.

    Gun control protest

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  • Tell Secretary of State John Kerry: Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

    It's still entirely unclear if the Keystone XL pipeline can be built and managed safely. Moreover, its construction would delay the critical conversion to a non-fossil fuel based economy on which our future depends. Secretary of State John Kerry, who once spoke out bravely against the Vietnam War and who has stressed the dangers of climate change, could stop it. Sometime in the next couple of months, the State Department will issue a final environmental impact statement on the pipeline, followed by a determination on whether it is “in the national interest." Sign our open letter urging Secretary Kerry to consider his legacy and to find the courage to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. 

    Protest against the Keystone XL pipeline

    Demonstrators march during a protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) 

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  • Tell Congress: Protect the Postal Service

    We applaud Congress’s defense of Saturday delivery at the United States Postal Service and the USPS’s subsequent decision not to cancel it. However, the story does not end there. As John Nichols reports, the USPS still suffers from attempts to weaken the public institution and privatize its services. Most notably, while the American people bear the brunt of closures and cuts, Congress continues to force unnecessary fiscal woes on the USPS with a burdensome and unprecedented mandate that it pre-fund its pension plan 75 years into the future.

    To preserve the USPS well into the twenty-first century, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter DeFazio have introduced the Postal Service Protection Act, legislation that would repeal the pre-funding requirement, clear the way for the USPS to help customers take advantage of email and Internet services and create a commission to determine ways the service could generate new revenue, among other reforms. 

    Nichols called the recent Saturday-delivery victory, "an important reminder that it matters to mobilize against the austerity agenda, even when the odds are daunting." The fight to protect the USPS is critical to stemming the tide of austerity and protecting our public institutions. Contact your representative and implore them to support the Postal Service Protection Act.

    A post office in Markham, VA

    A post office in Marhham, VA (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite) 

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  • Support Indiana University Strikers

    On April 11th and 12th, while the Indiana University Board of Trustees hold their annual meeting, students and staff throughout the statewide system will walk out of class and off the job. In preparation, the strikers have released a list of wide-ranging demands targeting their university:

    • 1. Immediately reduce tuition and eliminate fees.

    • 2. Stop privatization and outsourcing at IU.

    • 3. End the wage freeze [i.e., stagnant wages for faculty and staff].

    • 4. Honor its promise to double the enrollment of African-American students to 8%.

    • 5. Support the abolition of both HB1402 [which prevents undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition] and SB590 [an immigration law enforcement bill styled after Arizona's SB 1070].

    The issues confronting the Indiana University strikers—rising tuition costs, a lack of commitment to diversity and barriers facing undocumented students—are clearly national in scope and deserve advocates across the country. Sign our petition in support of their demands, then write a letter expressing your solidarity with the strikers to the Indiana Daily Student at opinion@idsnews.com. You can also head to their donation site to help them out with much-needed supplies.  

    Indiana University strike logo

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  • Tell the FEC: Investigate Chevron's Donation to the Congressional Leadership Fund

    During the 2012 election, the oil giant Chevron donated $2.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican-aligned Super PAC dedicated to defeating House Democrats. Emblematic of the overwhelming influence of corporations in our elections, the contribution may have also been illegal.

    The United States has long prohibited political donations by federal contractors, a necessary rule to fight corruption and “pay-to-play” politics. Since 2000, Chevron has received more than $1.4 billion in federal contracts.

    Chevron claims that the donation was legal because it came from Chevron Corporation, a different company from Chevron USA, Inc., the beneficiary of their federal contracts. The advocacy organization Public Citizen has asserted that, even if that is the case, Chevron Corporation also received federal contracts in 2012. If those contracts were in force or being negotiated at the time of the donation, it was still illegal.

    Whichever arm of Chevron the donation came from, the American public has a clear interest in policing the influx of corporate money into our democracy. This is especially true of the oil industry, which receives billions of dollars in subsidies each year and has a strong interest in halting much needed regulations and moves toward clean energy. Sign our open letter in support of Public Citizen’s call for the FEC to investigate Chevron’s donation and hold the oil giant accountable to all campaign finance laws.

    A Chevron station

    A gasoline tank driver moves a hose as he fills tanks at a Chevron petrol station. (Reuters/Fred Prouser)

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  • Stand Up for Employment Protections for LGBT Workers

    While much attention has been focused on the Supreme Court’s consideration of California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense Against Marriage Act, the struggle for LGBT rights extends beyond the right to marry.  Nearly every year since 1994, Congress has introduced but failed to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in hiring, compensation, promotion or firing on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently, 29 states do not prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and 34 states do not protect transgender workers.

    Just as everyone should have the right to marry, no one should have to fear losing a job because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Contact your representative and tell them it's time to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

    Alexander Sanchez wabes a raindow colored flag to a crowd of supporters of same-sex marriage

      Alexander Sanchez waves a rainbow colored flag to a large crowd of same-sex marriage supporters (AP Photo/Darryl Bush)

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  • Tell Your Representatives to Support the Student Loan Fairness Act of 2013

    Student loan debt in the United States has exceeded $1 trillion—more than credit card or automobile debt—and it is growing. This crisis not only limits opportunities for those struggling to pay back their loans; it causes a significant drag on our entire economy.

    Recently, Representative Karen Bass introduced the Student Loan Fairness Act of 2013, a measure that promises relief for many of the over 37 million Americans saddled with student loan debt. The bill addresses this problem in the following ways:

    • Creates a 10-10 standard for student loan repayment, in which an individual would be required to make 10 years of payments at 10% of their discretionary income, after which, their remaining debt would be forgiven.

    • Permanently caps the interest rate for all federal student loans at 3.4%, ultimately eliminating the need to enact temporary measures every year to prevent rates from doubling.

    • Allows those eligible to convert their private loan debt into federal direct loans.

    • Suspends interest rates while borrowers are un-employed.

    • Rewards graduates for entering into public service.

    Contact your representative and implore them to co-sponsor and vote "yes" on the Student Loan Fairness Act of 2013.

    OWS protesters demonstrate against student loan debt

    Occupy Wall Street demonstrators participating in street-theater wear signs around their neck representing their student debt.

    (Reuters/Andrew Burton)

  • Tell President Obama and Congress: No War with Iran

    This month marks the tenth anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Iraq. By way of assessment, Jonathan Schell recently wrote that the war created a dangerous precedent, a “change from diplomacy and agreements to force as the means for achieving nonproliferation.” (This is, of course, beyond the massive loss of Iraqi and American lives.)

    The current bellicosity toward Iran reflects this dangerous change and threatens to repeat the previous deceptions of the rush to war on Iraq, as we're told about fictitious Iranian weapons of mass destruction—stories just like the ones that led us into Iraq. Most recently, Senators Lindsay Graham and Robert Menendez introduced Senate Resolution 65, which lays the groundwork for the US to offer military aid to Israel in the event of a preemptive strike on Iran.

    Ten years after the United States’ invasion of Iraq, it is imperative that we learn the lessons of the war that lead to the deaths of 4,483 US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

    On the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, join Schell and The Nation in imploring President Obama and Congress to avoid what would be the catastrophic mistake of a war with Iran.

    Code Pink protesters

    Flickr/Caitlin Childs

  • Open Letter to McDonald's CEO: Meet with Student Strikers Now

    In early March, student workers from Asia and Latin America launched a surprise strike against their employer, a McDonald's in central Pennsylvania. The students, who paid between $3,000 to $5,000 to come to the United States as part of the J-1 cultural exchange visa program, alleged that they were assigned shifts of up to twenty-five consecutive hours, were paid less than the minimum wage, lived in substandard employer-owned housing and faced retaliation when they raised objections. Hours after the students began their work stoppage, they found themselves locked out of the employer-owned basement where they lived.

     

    McDonald’s claims to be investigating the complaints and says it has cut ties with the manager of the students' franchises. However, they have not yet met directly with the students themselves. For a recent piece in The Nation, one of them, Alicia Marin, told reporter Josh Eidelson, "they say they want to know what happened....they don't ask the real students what happened."

     

    The students are planning a mobilization on March 26 outside McDonald’s headquarters and at the home of company CEO Don Thompson. Sign our open letter imploring Don Thompson to meet directly with the students. Then head to the National Guestworker Alliance and join the students’ campaign.

    A McDonald's store

  • The McCutcheon Decision Is Disastrous; Here's How You Can Fight Back

    In a case some have called "Citizens United 2.0," the Supreme Court struck down caps on the total amount a donor can contribute to political candidates, parties and political action committees. The case, McCutcheon v FEC, involved a coal tycoon who argued that the laws limiting individual donations to political candidates and parties to $123,200 total over two years violated his first amendment rights. Now, wealthy donors can give more than $3.5 million over that same period. Citizens United allowed Big Business to spend literally as much as it wants. But Citizens United money can go only to outside groups. Now McCutcheon removes meaningful limits on the total amount an individual can directly contribute to candidates, political parties and political committees.

    As The Nation's John Nichols points out, the ruling makes it crystal clear that rather than work to protect democracy, "the court has opted for full-on plutocracy."

    The good news is that people across the nation are responding with protests to this outrageous decision building on the widespread outrage generated by Citizens United. States and cities across the country have called for a “Democracy Is For People” amendment to end unlimited and undisclosed corporate financing of American elections and to enable the government to regulate spending by individuals. The amendment would effectively reverse much of the damage of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and help to mitigate the worst excesses of the McCutcheon decision.

    Sixteen states and hundreds of cities and towns across the country have already demanded that Congress act to end the ever-growing influx of big money into politics. Join the movement and ask your senators and representative to support the "Democracy Is For People" amendment.  

    The US Supreme Court
    The Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

  • Stand with Walmart Warehouse Workers

    Recently, warehouses contracted by Walmart have proven to be as aggressive at thwarting workers’ rights as the retail giant itself.

     

    After workers at a Walmart-contracted warehouse in Chico, California were awarded $1.1 million in stolen wages, they feared retaliation for speaking out. Then, in late February, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against companies involved in staffing and managing Walmart’s largest distribution center in the US. The complaint alleged that the company had threatened and punished workers for organizing, even firing those active in advocating for their rights.

     

    This state of affairs is in violation of both Walmart’s own “Standards for Suppliers” and US labor law. Write to Walmart CEO Mike Duke and tell him that Walmart-contracted warehouses must stop standing in the way of workers exercising their Constitutional right to organize.

    Walmart

    AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

  • President Obama: Extend Labor Protections to Homecare Workers

    In December of 2011, President Obama announced that his administration would extend federal minimum wage and overtime protections to an estimated 2.5 million homecare workers.  Almost two years later, the rule changes to the “companionship exemption” of the Fair Labor Standards Act are still under final review by the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Labor has held two public comment periods on the law. It is clear that the Obama administration should move faster; homecare workers currently make an average of $9.70 an hour and nearly 40% make so little that they must rely on Medicaid or food stamps.

    Recently, Ai-jen Poo, the head of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, told The Nation that she believes the Obama administration may be ready to make the change by the end of the month. Sign our open letter to President Obama imploring him to fulfill his promise and extend minimum wage and overtime protections to homecare workers now. 

    A homecare worker

    A homecare worker in Miami, FL. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

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  • Protect Funding for the Violence Against Women Act

    On March 7, 2013—the day before International Women’s Day—President Obama signed into law the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), this time with added protections for the LGBT community and immigrant and Native American women. However, while activists are thrilled to see the passage of the act, budget cuts implemented as part of Congress’s sequestration deal threaten to underfund the programs they fought so hard to maintain. If the cuts go forward as planned, programs funded by VAWA could lose more than $20 million, potentially leaving 35,927 victims without access to much-needed services. Furthermore, the lost funds would come on top of a slew of state budget cuts to similar programs, along with a struggling economy that exasperates the affects of domestic violence and complicates women’s efforts to leave their abusers.

    Reports indicate that President Obama and Congress may be working out a deal to end the sequester. Tell your representatives that domestic violence victims cannot be used as bargaining chips. Demand that any deal to avert the sequester restores full funding to VAWA programs.

    Deborah Parker at President Obama's signing of VAWA

    Deborah Parker, vice chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington State, gestures before President Obama before he signs the Violence Against Women Act. (AP/Susan Walsh)

  • On International Women's Day, Protect Funding for the Violence Against Women Act

    On March 7, 2013—the day before International Women’s Day—President Obama finally signed into law the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), this time with added protections for immigrant and Nation American women and LGBT people. However, while activists are thrilled to see the passage of the act, budget cuts implemented as part of Congress’s sequestration deal threaten to underfund the programs they fought so hard to maintain. If the cuts go forward as planned, programs funded by VAWA could lose up to $20 million, leaving 35,927 victims without access to much-needed services. Furthermore, the lost funds would come on top of a slew of state budget cuts to similar programs, along with a struggling economy that exasperates the affects of domestic violence and complicates women’s efforts to leave their abusers.  

     

    Reports indicate that President Obama and Congress may be working out a deal to end the sequester. This International Women’s Day, tell your representatives that domestic violence victims cannot be used as bargaining chips. Demand that any deal to avert the sequester restores full funding to VAWA programs.

  • Take the Pledge to Stand Up for Workers' Rights

    To commemorate the second anniversary of the fight against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s assault on public sector unions, the filmmakers of the documentary “We Are Wisconsin” have organized the National Day of Recommitment. Join John Nichols and The Nation in endorsing the filmmakers’ call to “recommit” to the fight for workers’ rights. Take our pledge to stand up for collective bargaining rights, to fight so-called “right to work” laws and to defend public sector workers.

    Protesters in Wisconsin

    Flickr/Paul Baker

  • Immigration Reform Should Work for All Families: Support LGBTQ Immigrants

    As Congress debates immigration reform, it risks leaving LGBTQ people out in the cold. Currently, immigrants in same-sex couples are not eligible for the same fast-tracked path to a green card afforded to married heterosexual couples. If Congress does not address this injustice, thousands of these families could be separated or forced to leave the country.

    Sign our petition and implore lawmakers to include LGBTQ partners in any immigration legislation. Then head to United We Dream and show your support for the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project

    Flickr/ Christopher Edwards

  • Support Walmart Warehouse Workers

    In January of this year, the state of California ordered Quetico, LLC, a Walmart-contracted warehouse, to pay $1.1 million in stolen wages to its workers. The company denied the charges and is appealing the state’s ruling. Meanwhile, workers fear retaliation for speaking out. Warehouse Workers United has started a campaign urging Walmart to enforce its own “Standards for Suppliers” and to ensure workers are included in the process of maintaining acceptable working conditions at Walmart suppliers.

     

    Send a letter to Walmart CEO Mike Duke and tell him you stand with Warehouse Workers United and the Quetico warehouse workers.

    AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

  • President Obama: Halt the Deportation of Parents


    Join The Nation in calling on President Obama to immediately halt the deportation of parents.

    Immigrant Rights protest

    Ten union organizers and supporters participate in an act of civil disobedience by sitting down at the corner of Century Boulevard                                                       and Avion Drive, Los Angeles, California May 1, 2012. Reuters/Gus Ruelas

  • Save Saturday Postal Service!

    Use our form below to tell your representative to say "no" to the end of Saturday delivery.

            A postal worker

              (Flickr/Ben Brophy)

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  • Save the Post Office: Tell Congress to Say "No" to Cutting Saturday Service!

    Use our form below to implore your representatives to say "no" to the end of Saturday service!


  • Open Letter on Academic Freedom From The Nation to New York Elected Officials

    We urge readers to sign The Nation's new petition in support of academic freedom at CUNY.

                            

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  • Nation Builders' Open Letter on Gun Control


    Gun control

    After the tragic deaths at Newton Elementary school brought attention to the daily scourge of gun violence in the United States, members of the Nation Builders drafted an open letter to demand immediate action to enact sane and effective gun control policy. We are asking anyone in agreement with their letter to sign on using the form below. We'll then forward the statement to the appropriate lawmakers.

  • Nation Builders Open Letter on Gun Control

    After the tragic deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary school brought attention to the daily scourge of gun violence in the United States, members of the The Nation Builders drafted an open letter to demand immediate action to enact sane and effective gun control policy.  We are asking anyone in agreement with this letter to sign on using the form below. Once we reach a critical mass of signatories we will connect you to a tool that will automatically send the letter to President Obama, your members of Congress and your State representatives. 

  • Urge Your Representatives to Act on Gun Control

    After the tragic deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School brought attention to the daily scourge of gun violence in the United States, members of the Nation Builders worked to draft an open letter to demand immediate action to enact reasonable and effective gun control in the United States. After reviewing over 500 posts by members of the Builders, members of the Nation staff finalized a statement that over 7800 Nation Builders chose to sign. Use the form below to send the letter to your state and federal representatives and urge them to act now!


                                                              

  • Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012

     In 2010, total outstanding student loan debt exceeded total outstanding credit card debt in America for the first time ever. In 2012, total outstanding student loan debt is expected to exceed $1 Trillion.

    Since 1980, average tuition for a 4-year college education has increased an astounding 827%. Since 1999, average student loan debt has increased by a shameful 511%.

    Student loan debt has an undeniable and significant suppressive effect on economic growth. The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 directly addresses this enormous boot on the neck of the middle class and represents a glimmer of hope for millions of Americans who, with each passing day, find that the American Dream is more and more out of reach.

    Contact your representative and request that Congress bring H.R. 4170, the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, up for consideration and commit to holding a straight, up-or-down vote on it this year. 

    Students protest

  • Restore the Violence Against Women Act

    Despite an eleventh-hour effort by Vice President Joe Biden, House Republican leaders failed to advance the Senate's 2012 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that would have extended domestic violence protections to 30 million LGBT individuals, undocumented immigrants and Native American women. As Erika Eichelberger writes in The Nation this week, by refusing to reauthorize VAWA, Congressional Republicans are leaving rape victims with few options.

    Farmworkers

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